For the past six years I've been working on my novel, Hungry Mother Creek - writing, going to writing workshops, editing, seeking advice, figuring out the maze of publishing options. Three weeks ago Hungry Mother Creek was published!! A dream come true. It is overwhelming that the story and characters that have been in my head for six years are now being discovered by my readers. As I've reflected on my journey from inspiration to publication three important lessons stand out to me.
First, to achieve anything that pushes your limits, you have to believe in yourself. As soon as I decided to write a novel self doubt set it. that harsh inner critic said, "Who are you to write a novel"; "You'll never finish"; "Nobody will want to read it". And on and on. I did my best to ignore this voice but sometimes I wouldn't write for a month or more because it was so strong. As time went on I got better at ignoring my inner critic. My mantra became, "Keep writing. Just keep writing." I began to pay more attention to the calm and steady inner voice saying I could to this. As I sit here with my novel in hand and some positive feedback from readers, I see which voice was correct. I believe ignoring my tough inner critic allowed me to achieve something I was meant to do. I challenge you to do the same!
Secondly, writing Hungry Mother Creek reinforced the power of patience. I didn't know how long the whole process would take when I started and I certainly got frustrated along the way when I didn't feel I was making fast enough progress. But what was fast enough? It was mainly my inner critic again saying I was going too slow. I keep writing when I could and celebrated the small steps along the way, scences developing into chapters, chapters printed and put in a notebook, unedited rough draft, first edited draft, second edited draft and so on. I held onto the vision of holding my book in my hand and trusted all the small steps would get me there eventually. The day I completed my first draft there was a motivational post on my Facebook page. The picture was a pile of small turtles and the quote was from Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience."
Lastly, writing Hungry Mother Creek showed me how interconnected we all are. Nobody achieves anything without the influence of others. Hungry Mother Creek would not be here without family and friends believing in me when my self doubt flared, teachers helping me improve my writing, other authors inspiring me with their words, my editor providing me with grammatical and plot feedback, technical support helping me with formatting and web page design. Reaching out for help, support and advice allowed me to achieve a dream that I would never have attained alone and I am eternally grateful for everyone who was on this journey with me.
As you pursue your dreams, believe in yourself and learn to quiet your inner critic, have patience and faith that small steps will lead you to your goal and finally embrace our interconnectedness and let others support, inspire and teach you. The stronger your web of connections the more likely you are to reach your goal.